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New Inn Farm Silsoe

New Inn Farm lies on the west side of the A6, a little south of Sand Lane which leads towards Pulloxhill. The farmhouse may have accommodated the New Inn or may simply have stood nearby, there is not sufficient evidence to be sure. The farm included land in both Silsoe and Pulloxhill and included the following pieces of land: Bucklegrove Close; Bushy Close; The Cherry Orchard; Churchbridge Close; Crabtree Close; The Pade; Peartree Close; Pryers Close; Shipwater Close; Southill Close; Thetchy Close; Upper and Lower Brays Closes and Wilsons Close.

The farmhouse was listed by the former Department of Environment in January 1985 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the property to about 1800 "possibly containing an earlier structure, with slightly later addition". The house is built of red brick and has hipped clay tile roofs. It is built in an L-shape.

The farm was owned by Charles Nicholls of Hitchin [Hertfordshire] in 1718 as he exchanged small parcels of land with the Duke of Kent in that year [Z937/2/1]. By 1762 Carolus Nicholls Field, a nephew of John Field, owned the farm and leased Bray Close for three years to Thomas Day of New Inn for £13 per annum [Z937/2/2]. The following year Carolus Nicholls Field leased lands and cottages at Pulloxhill as well as Brays Close of seventeen acres in Pulloxhill, Flitton and Silsoe to John Bolding, surgeon and apothecary and Thomas Hollingworth, maltster and cooper, both of Ampthill for five shillings per annum [Z937/2/3].

In 1773 John Field of Hitchin married Frances Flint, daughter of Thomas Flint of Higham Gobion, yeoman and New Inn Farm, with forty seven acres and three roods of pasture in Flitton, Silsoe and Pulloxhill, all let to John Hill for £58 per annum formed part of the marriage settlement [Z937/2/4].

By 1794 John Field owned ninety four acres in Silsoe and Pulloxhill [Z937/2/5]. In 1815 John and Frances settled New Inn Farm with forty five acres on their son Thomas Flint Field after their deaths [Z937/2/7]. He became a cheesemonger in Newgate Street, City of London and in 1819 his mother, now a widow, offered him immediate possession of the farm, in exchange for an annuity of £200 per annum [Z937/2/8] which her son duly enacted [Z937/2/9]. He then leased the farm to John Edwards of Silsoe for fourteen years for £200 per annum and £50 for every acre of pasture which the tenant broke up for arable [Z937/2/10].

In 1837 Thomas Flint Field found himself in dispute with his brother Charles Nicholls Field, the latter believing that he was entitled to New Inn Farm under the terms of their parents' marriage settlement, though, after seeing the settlement he withdrew his claim  [Z937/31/9-12]. By 1868 the owners were Rose Eliza Field, widow and Rose Eliza Field, her daughter, both living at Folkestone [Kent] [Z937/31/14] though they also seemed to live at Fielden House near Fielden Farm. She also owned Fielden Farm which had been in the family since the early 19th century.

Rose Eliza Field senior was still the owner in 1880 when tenant Edward Danns Roberts gave notice of his intention to quit the property [Z937/31/17].

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting New Inn Farm [DV1/H51/50] found it owned by a Miss A. Field and occupied by R. Harris, who paid rent of £240 per annum for 116 acres. This figure had been fixed twenty one years before.

The valuer commented: "Water for house from spring in well. Tenant put pump in for Buildings. Buildings very bad repair. Floods badly, all land wants draining. 2 Fields short of ponds" The land stretched over Silsoe, Pulloxhill and Higham Gobion. Another hand has written: "Rent very dear, always had been".

The farmhouse had two occupiers and comprised a parlour, a living room and a scullery downstairs. Three bedrooms lay on the first floor. There was also an attic, though this was "useless". 

Farm buildings comprised the following: a cow house used for stores; a two stall stable used as a store; a cow house for seven beasts with a loft over; a cow house for four with a loft over; three loose boxes; two further loose boxes; an old stable for three horses; two derelict stables or hovels; three cow stalls ("not used"); a cow house for eleven; a loose box; a cow house for five; a barn in two parts constructed of weather-boarding and corrugated iron; two piggeries; a further piggery; an implement shed; a three bay cart shed; a trap house; a two stall stable and a barn and hen house used as a garage by the tenant.

Directories for Bedfordshire, which were not published annually but every few years, give the names of the tenants of New Inn Farm in 1931 and 1936 and the following names are taken from these directories. The dates are the dates the name first and last appears not the dates of residence:

1931: William Saville
1936: John Prentice Lines